The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will feature something it hasn't for several years — stability. Not only are the majority of the familiar faces behind the wheel returning, but the schedule will be relatively unchanged from 2021 as well.
It also hopefully means that the competition will be just as fierce as it was last season, which saw Ben Rhodes narrowly win the championship. Rhodes is one of five drivers who finished in the top 10 points in 2021 that make our top-10 list for '22. But with half of this list comprised of "new" names maybe there will be some "changes" to come in the Truck Series this season after all.
NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series' Top 10 Drivers for 2022
1. John Hunter Nemechek
Bad luck is the only thing that kept JHN from celebrating the championship in 2021, and it’s likely the only thing that will keep him from it in 2022. He could meet or even surpass 2021’s five series wins.
2. Grant Enfinger
A driver with something to prove is always one to watch, and Enfinger will want to prove that his 2020 playoff run was no fluke and that his relegation to part-time status in 2021 was unwarranted. His return to GMS should produce results immediately.
3. Ben Rhodes
The 2021 series champion has always been an electric personality, and his championship celebration only fortified his standing as one to watch off the track as well as on it. Rhodes is happy to be a contender for wins and championships in the Truck Series and has made ThorSport his home. Another title run is a definite possibility.
4. Chandler Smith
After a rookie season that saw some ups and downs as well as a pair of victories, Smith will be on the march for a championship in 2022. Teaming with Nemechek and newcomer Corey Heim will mean lots of opportunities for KBM to win, and Smith will be fighting for more than his share.
5. Matt Crafton
The wily veteran returns for his 22nd season and his 21st behind the wheel of the No. 88 for ThorSport. Crafton hasn’t missed a start since his debut at California in the final race of 2000, and despite his win production slowing in recent years, he can never be counted out as a championship contender.
6. Corey Heim
Six wins in the ARCA Menards Series against Ty Gibbs are nothing to sneeze at. Heim fought hard and put himself on track to earn a shot in KBM equipment, and he’ll look to make the most of it. He’s shown an ability to adapt quickly to new tracks, which will help tremendously as he sees many tracks for the first time in 2022.
7. Christian Eckes
A win in a part-time season has to give Eckes a lot of confidence headed into a full-time run in 2022. After a tumultuous season at KBM in 2020, Eckes needed an opportunity to rebuild his confidence, and that happened. Now he needs another shot to run for a title, and he’ll get that in 2022.
8. Carson Hocevar
The talented Michigan teenager narrowly missed out on a pair of victories in 2021, but he did make his first playoff appearance in his rookie season. A return to Niece Motorsports with a new teammate in Dean Thompson should offer some stability and another playoff run.
9. Derek Kraus
The former ARCA Menards West champion will return to the McAnally-Hilgemann Racing team, which is making the move from Toyotas to Chevrolets in 2022. Kraus earned a pair of poles in 2021 and a best finish of fifth at Knoxville; he’ll be further boosted for 2022 with the addition of a teammate during the offseason (Colby Howard).
10. Stewart Friesen
The Canadian dirt-tracker has been a consistent threat throughout his Truck Series career. Friesen didn’t make a trip to Victory Lane in 2021 but had seven top-5 finishes, and a year with his self-owned team, Halmar Friesen Racing, standing on its own should give them plenty of opportunities in 2022.